Review: APEX 5T6 (5 x Cree XM-L T6 | 4 x 18650)

APEX 5T6 (5 x Cree XM-L T6 | 4 x 18650)

Reviewer's Overall Rating: ★★★1/2


Battery: 4 x 18650
Switch: Tail switch, Reverse clicky
Modes: 3: High, Medium, Low (with memory)
LED Type: 5 x XM-L T6 3C (NW)
Lens: Glass
Tailstands: Yes
Price Payed: $98 + shipping
From: CNQG
Date Ordered: June 2012


  • Bright (A bit less than King, but still very bright)
  • A real flooder
  • Available as NW
  • Very good runtime with four cells
  • Runs cooler than King
  • Has also medium mode
  • Well spaced modes
  • Good handle, which enables variety of grips
  • Handle can be taken off if needed
  • Tailstands well (and can be used to illuminate the whole room )
  • Good build quality
  • Nice color (not gold, but still something else than "normal" black / silver)
  • Comes in a fancy box
  • Lanyard included


  • PWM on low and medium modes (~125Hz)
  • Positive pole of the cell needs to be smooth, or it carves the metal from driver board
  • No side switch
  • Threads were dry -> needs silicone grease

Features / Value: ★★★★

The light comes in a fancy package, design of which may annoy someone, but I like it.

The box was intact after the air mail abuse and managed to keep the light safe. The green sticker says NW (and the same in Chinese).

..which contains the light itself, a nice lanyard, and one extra O-ring

Features are good: Three well spaced modes (about 2200, 1000 and 300 lumens OTF), tail switch (reverse clicky) and no blinky modes.

UI is pretty normal: High-Medium-Low, with memory. And with reverse clicky, the other modes are always just a half-click away.

If anyone is worried about the light turning on accidentally, I can comfort you by saying that the light can be locked out simply by unscrewing the head about 1/8 - 1/4 turns.

Value for money: Good.

Design / Build Quality: ★★★

Design is nice. This must be the best form for a multi-cell, multi-emitter light! Short enough, quite thick and with good handle that allows different grips (as demonstrated by kramer5150). However, I miss the side clicky.. (-> minus one star)

The anodization is good overall, glass lens looks nice, and the switch feels reliable.

Color is good. Not plain old black, but nice gray.

I thought that I wouldn't like the handle and was pleased to hear that it's removable. But I was terribly wrong: I like the handle very much. It is very well made, solid and allows me to carry the light in multiple ways. The handle doubles also as a hook, with which the light can be hung on something, like your backpack or jeans pocket.

Let's see some details..

Cooling fins and the stainless steel handle:

Five well centered NW emitters, ready to push out some serious amount of lumens:

The threads were smooth, but very dry - requires fair amount of silicone grease. The O-ring is well placed and it keeps in place very well. Note also the scratched metal on the driver board. (I forgot to smoothen the positive poles of my new batteries..)

Here are the three main parts disassembled:

The tail switch looks beefy enough to handle the high current:

A look to the inside. Four cells in a smallest possible formation. Nice! Also longer cells like XTAR 18700 fit fine without any problems.

A closer look to the switch and tail cap springs:

Here's the outer part of the tail cap:

Here's the light mostly disassembled. Note especially the separate reflectors. Need even more flood? Just take off one, two or all of those.

The O-ring between lens and bezel is a beefy one. And so is the rubber plate between reflectors and lens.

A look inside the head. Driver says: "V2", so this must be the upgraded version manufactured specifically to Ric?

Emitters are placed in a thick plate, which sits on top of wide enough ridge. It's attached with three screws and some fujik. The construction seems to work fine, given that the emitters are located near the edge. Thermal transfer seems to work fine (see thermal graph later in this review).

Emitters are placed near the edge of the plate for better thermal transfer. They do also have nice plastic centering rings, which make sure that the emitters are perfectly centered in reflectors.

Another photo with two reflectors in place:

Some measurements:

Length: 150mm

Head diameter: 70mm

Body diameter: 50mm

Tail diameter: 65mm

Weight: 628g with 4 cells (= ready to use), 438g without

Size compared to Skyray King:

And the bottom line in the quality: Absolutely nothing to complain.

Battery Life: ★★★★

Good! Four batteries will allow long runtimes.

I measured the current at the switch and got results of 7.35A on high, 2.65A on medium, and 0.45A on low.

This would give almost 1.5h runtime on high, almost 4h on med, and over 20h on low!

Light Output: ★★★★

This light is a bit less bright than my Skyray King NW, but I would still classify this as "very bright". Ceiling bounce was measured about 5% less than my King on high (can't be seen with eye).

There is some thermal / battery sag, but less than my TR-J12. It also did run cooler than King or TR-J12 in my tests. The large body with nice fins seems to take the heat quite well!

Here are ceiling bounce and temperature results for a ten minute run indoors, ambient temperature 26 degrees Celsius. There was no cooling and the max temperature at end was nice 48°C (about 10°C less than King & TR-J12).

I estimate (ceiling bounce + "known" references) the light output to:

- over 2000 lumens on high (maybe around 2000-2100?)

- about 1000 on medium

- about 300 on low

Two white wall beamshots (WB: Daylight)

Couldn't take outdoor beamshots due the lack of darkness. Sorry about that.

You can refer to kramer5150's thread for some outdoor beamshots.

Summary: ★★★★1/2

Very good flashlight with nice finish for anyone who wants to put out massive amount of neutral white lumens. And the color is not gold, which seems to be important thing for some of you..

If I would need to choose between the King and this, the choice would be very difficult. Output is nearly the same and both are available as NW, so that wouldn't be the differentiating factor. I love the side clicky in King and the handle in this one. This has the medium mode and King is cheaper.. Luckily I don't have to choose one -> I'll take both of them!

Verdict: Highly recommended!

The End (pun intended):

Thanks for reading & watching. Hope you enjoyed the review!

Nice .

Imagine pulling your new car apart like _the _ has just done and then asking for warranty. Thanks.

Very nice review and very detailed pictures of the internals, the finish of the light looks awesome, I wonder if it is HA II or III, Also wonder if one could find a very narrow optic that would be a direct fit so you could have flood and throw at the same time, Have you done any water resistance test to it?

Thanks for the review

Edit, Is there a slight mismatch on the anodize color of the bezel from the body or the tailcap?

SOLID review!!! thanks so much for posting this.
How did you get the front strike bezel off? Mines on there SUPER tight.
I’ll take some better beam shots tonight.

No I haven't. I don't usually test the water resistance. :(

But judging by the O-rings and the quality of threads, I'd bet this is fairly well water resistant.

About the tailcap color: Lightning conditions in some of these photos might make it look different, but it isn't.

Oh one more thing… it should also be noted that this light has a 120 Hz PWM for its MED and LO modes. It can be very bothersome for some folks. I find it most irritating with close-range tasks. Out in the field at farther distances (path-lighting…etc) its much less of a problem.

Mine was very tight as well. I had to use leather gloves and twist hard.

This is the review I've been waiting for, the bonus was the side by side pictures of the King and the Apex 5T6, thank you _the_.

I did already mention it in cons.

Did you measure the frequency? I estimated it to be about the same as in King, which should be about 200Hz.

I tried now to estimate it with my camera and figured out that it's about 125Hz. Thanks for pointing this out! I stand corrected.

Ugh... 120Hz... they actually go downhill more and more. You would wonder why those cheap drivers can do so much better PWM than a $100 light.

Seriously, PWM frequency is just how you program it, one time job. You pick high frequency and you're done forever, and thousands of that flashlight owners will be happier. But... *sigh* gotta save that few minutes of programming time huh...

really? it’s just a driver program? this makes low PWM that much more unacceptable…

Yes, PWM frequency is part of the EPROM program.

Since PWM is just rapid ON-OFF-ON-OFF cycles, it appears to my Fluke as an AC square wave. My Fluke 179 measures AC Hz so I just set it to measure tailcap current, but hit the button to read Hz. Its a ball-park estimate I think until someone hooks theirs up to a scope to really get an accurate reading. But it is visibly low though…. bummers.

Excellent review =the=, and thanks for the detailed photos of your dis-assembly!

Great to see the individual reflectors and fairly accessible driver board. If CN Quality Goods don’t release any optional accessories for these (e.g. narrower long-throw reflectors, or different driver boards) then I’m sure someone will come up with some mods soon.

The reflectors look “p60 sized” … could one find different reflectors or even collimator optics and simply thermal-paste them over the LEDs? I don’t have any ideas or solutions yet (don’t even have my 5T6 yet), but given the amount of space in the body of the flashlight I envision some great mod ideas!

Cheers for now

I’m surprised that you only got 2100ish lumens (i know NW will have less output) but comparing mine to my tm11 (which has a confirmed 2000 OTF) it’s easily brighter by 50% no problem….

I wonder what batteries your using? I’m using pink LG’s, she certainly goes like she’s on steroids :slight_smile:

Well. I don't have a integrating sphere, so I need to estimate based on ceiling bounce figures. It's hard to give accurate values..

I'm using XTAR 18700 2600mAh both in my King and APEX. But in 4P config the cells shouldn't matter that much.

Here's my 10min ceiling bounce comparison of some high lumen lights (indoors, with no cooling)

I didn't mean to publish this, as it's not scientific at all. Different cells etc. So please take it with a grain of salt.

Thanks for posting your findings the
Batteries do have a little to do with output. According to HKJ’S battery test the pink LG’s have low internal resistance and are one of if not the best for high drain demands.
I mostly only go off using my lights on the job (real life) and I live in a cold climate too - maybe I got a harder driven one by accident yahoooooo! :slight_smile:

Very nice review! How big are the reflectors? I’d guess around 20mm and no way 26.5 (p60). Build quality looks really nice but I have to admit your review makes me even happier with my King and $100 richer. :wink:

Thank _The_. Very nicely done!

I'm with JohnnyMac here on the King. I know this is Apex's thread, but I can't help but awe at the King's steady light regulation. And temp peaks at 58C too with no cooling, not bad at all for something that small.

I'm so glad I chose this one :bigsmile:

I seriously don’t like idea of an empty hole at the heatsink. It will be real great to have a solid heatsink instead of a thick board glued to the side, less surface contact area…